Market trends

Futuresource plots the course and delivers important projections

There is probably no better time or place to track industry market trends than at IFA. This year is no exception, despite the bedlam caused by the Covid-19 crisis. In each edition, IFA International will be covering several areas of importance. In this edition, we look at TV displays and Wearables / Hearables.

LG 8K TV at IFA 2019

TV Displays

The COVID-19 lockdown actually benefited TV sales in many countries during H1 as consumers withdrew into their homes and focused more on home entertainment. TV provided both a source of news and a distraction from world events. However, the outlook for the rest of the year is uncertain at best, with the economic impact likely to be severe, even if a feared widespread ‘second wave’ of the virus does not occur. In view of this – and the postponement of major sporting events such as the Olympics, Futuresource has lowered its Pre-COVID Global TV market forecast by 22m units resulting in a 7.2% unit decline in 2020 Vs 2019, with a CAGR to 2024 of 2.9%.

As part of the premium segment, OLED uptake is likely to be hampered by the COVID-19 economic impact, as consumers economise. OLED is forecast to reach 3.4m units worldwide in 2020, representing 1.5% of global shipments in 2020, rising to nearly 4% in 2024.

With already existing barriers such as lack of content and high prices being exacerbated by the pandemic, 8K shipments are set to reach just 495K units for 2020, representing only 0.2% of the market. As manufacturers aim to make the TV the control centre of the Smart Home, while improving the user experience at home, TV shipments with built-in voice capability will reach 51.8m units by 2024. Most brands however will stay with the “Works with” strategy which is more cost-effective.

4K UHD continues to grow its share of the TV market; 62% of shipments in 2020, as brands continue to transition their ranges from HD in order to boost ASPs.

The trend towards larger screen sizes will ensure sales in Europe of TVs above 40” will fare better than smaller sizes in the aftermath of COVID. Panels between 40” and 69” are forecast to fall by 4% in 2020 and a CAGR to 2024 of 2.9%. However, unit sales of screens of 70” and above will increase by 7% this year, with a CAGR to 2024 of 15%.

Wearables/Hearables

Overall, the wearables market as a whole is still expected to grow in 2020 despite Covid. The increased consumer awareness around health and wellbeing fits in with the major USPs of wearable devices, and future product developments are expected to expand on this trend.

The emerging ecosystem of connected devices will also become a key source of growth for wearables. The interaction of the smartwatch and hearable elevates the consumer proposition of these devices; the audio and voice capabilities of the hearable improve on those currently available on the wrist, while the biometric tracking done in the ear is also of greater quality in terms of accuracy and reliability.

Google’s pending acquisition of Fitbit, if approved, would be a significant shift in the competitive landscape for smartwatches. Currently, the market is dominated by Apple, with Samsung and Fitbit following. WearOS devices have struggled to attain notable market share in wearables, but with the acquisition of Fitbit, Google will hope to propel itself into a competitive position to rival Apple. Google are aiming to create an ecosystem that rivals Apple, with its hearables – the Pixel Buds – a rival to the Airpods, and wrist-worn wearables are another frontier of this competitive dynamic. Google’s wearables strategy will not only involve the continuing development of WearOS, but will also likely see the vendor look to develop its own Pixel watch as well as continue to support the Fitbit brand.

Source – Futuresource